Please take a look through some of the articles we have in Asia, click on the subcategory countries below to get the content.
Consider joining the club we are smaller and more unique therefore. We're a very social bunch here brought up with travel in hostels and we never get tired of another bus ride into the unknown.
I have a personal feeling of excitement being in many of the most exciting capital cities Bangkok, Hong Kong or relaxing in my Bali Resort after a days surfing. I am miles away from my country of birth and nothing is as it seems in Japan.
Bangladesh bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma.
Please help us to fill in some useful travel information and cool places to stay and destinations to visit. In Bangladesh.
Ask any sun and surf lover what the best part about Bangladesh would be, and chances are they'd tell you about Inani Beach. It is the world's longest (and widest) beach.
Sounds excellent enough, if that's all they had to offer. No, this Asian country of 153 million people is a lot more than just coastline. It's a place of tranquil tea plantations, spicy curries, and a culture than spans centuries.
Dhaka, its capital city, is one of the best places to experience Bangladesh's culture. It's full of museums and mosque, and considering some 90 percent of the country is Muslim--there are a lot of mosques.
One of the most famous isn't in Dhaka, but Bagerhat; it's a 60 domed mosque called Shait Gumbad.
In addition to Dhaka's religious sites, you can see if Liberation War Museum (Bangladesh won independence from Pakistan in the early 1970s), as well as its exotic zoo and Botanical Gardens.
Another vibrant city is Chittagong, located right on the Bay of Bengal. Not only is it a port city, but a museum city, a forested and beach area (with coconut groves, no less), lakes, and a thriving Buddhist Tribal Culture.
You need to keep going back to Bangladesh's incredible beaches, you'll want to see (of course) Inani Beach, but also Maheskali Island and Kuakata. The water is important here, and a good way to enjoy it is along a paddleboat ride.
The water also gives you one of the best souvenirs you can buy yourself, pink pearls. But Bangladesh is also known for its stunning fabrics and saris, and items made from bamboo.
Whether shopping markets, the beach, or museums are what you have in mind--it's best to keep an eye on the weather. Hot, tropical monsoons frequent the area from May to october, while its a tad cooler from November to March. The area is also prone to earthquakes, but let that stop you from enjoying this fantastic country.
If anything the food should bring you, loically made curries with rice are everywhere--and fish dishes are both exotic and tasty. As this is a Muslim country, the drinks of choice are coconut water and tea. Tea, by the way, is a great drink choice since so much of it is grown in the area of the Sylhet Division.
Getting from one area to another can be a test of patience, but a unique experience at the same time. While trains are often crowded (and not very well-kept), you can get from Dhaka to Cittagong by rail.
Ferry service is also available from Dhaka to Khulna, and are also very crowded. Going local? Take the auto rickshaw or the cycle rickshaw, a three-wheeled buggy of sorts.
It is best to avoid drinking anything other than boiled or bottled water. Make sure if you're eating of Bangladesh's curries or any meat dishes that its all well-cooked, and all veg and fruit is either cooked or peeled.
Make sure you've taken care of your vaccinations before departing; including everything from Yellow Fever to Malaria, Typhoid to Tetanus. Dengue Fever is a possiblilty if traveling to Bangladesh.
Don't worry if you can't speak Bengali, the official language--English is widely spoken. Just make sure you've got your passport and visa in order.
Whatever precautions you need to take to visit Bangladesh are small compared to what you'll get in return in this tropic destination.
The Kingdom of Bhutan is a landlocked country in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalaya Mountains and bordered to the south, east and west by India and to the north by China. Bhutan was separated from the nearby state of Nepal to the west by the Indian state of Sikkim, and from Bangladesh to the south by West Bengal.
There are a number of rules you'll have to follow if you want to travel to Bhutan. No, they're not totally outrageous--and whatever you must do to get here is all worth it in the end.
All travel to this East Himalayan country is heavily regulated by the government. If you'ved decided to fly in, you must use the national airline, Druk, which flys from Kathmandu, Delhi, and Bankkok. And you must use a local tour operator for all tourism, which sets a daily requirement of the minimum dollar amount of what you must spend per day.
One look at the Tiger's Nest, or the Taktsang Goemba, perched precariously on the 2900 foot cliff is worth any penny you've spent to get to this most revered site.
Bhutan is known for their Dzongs; which are (or were) used for fortress, civil, and administrative purposes. The Taschichho Dzong was once the Royal Family's ancestral home.
There isn't much nighlife going on in Bhutan, but shopping is always is, it seems. The area is known for its textiles, clothing, and jewelry--and most interestingly enough, its stamps.
Try the Handicraft Emporium, open daily, for some wonderful gifts to bring home. Or, you can try a number of smaller markets that are usually open just on the weekends.
Eating around Bhutan is an adventure. Vegetarians will love it here, and the view of the apple orchards are divine.
Just be careful to only drink boiled or bottled water, and all milk should be boiled first. Meat dishes should be well-cooked, as a precaution.
It's best to have some vaccinations before arriving in Bhutan, but the biggest issue is mostly altitude sickness. This is some seriously high terrain; and many roads higher up in the Himalayas aren't even passable. La Pass is accessible, and one of Bhutan's most panoramic views from 3100 meters above sea level.
Be sure you've gotten your passport, return ticket, and visa (some citizens can get it upon arrival--just bring along 2 passport photos).
The wildlife found in Bhutan is surreal, including snow leopards and some 600 species of birds--including the black necked crane. Orchid lovers will fall in love with all the specimens of this regal botanical beauty.
There's no doubt that you'll think all 47-thousand square kilometers of Bhutan is beautiful, even the meaning of its name is beautiful--known as the Land of the Thunder Dragon.
Miniscule in terms of land area, just 5,675 square kilometers, the country of Brunei is a tropical wonder just north of Borneo. This Islamic nation, also bordering Malaysia, enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the entire region.
Its capital city of Bander Seri Begawan, just known simply as BSB, has a waterfront pedestrian zone filled with all sorts of restaurants and other delights.
You won't find any nightclubs, as alcohol is illegal to sell or for public consumption. Public being the operative word, since non-Muslims are allowed to bring in some libations, so long as you've declared it with customs.
If you're an Israeli passport holder, you won't be allowed in. Others must have a passprt, return ticket, and for some--no visa is necessary. Aussies, you're going to need one--so get it before you leave home.
You don't have to worry much about precautionary vaccinations, but mosquito illnesses can happen; mostly Dengue Fever. Most water is safe to drink according to Western standards, but if you're not comfortable, stick to the bottled stuff. A local beverage is called ABC, a sweet drink that's actually called air batu campur.
There isn't too much worry about food borne illnesses, but you should avoid under-cooked meat or fish anyway. A yummy tasting dish of spicy beef with potato beans is "daging masak lada hitam". It'll take you longer to pronounce it than eat it.
Don't worry about caloric intake, you can burn everything off at the incredible golf course, that overlooks the South China Sea, at the Empire Hotel & Country Club; and set entirely within a tropical rainforest.
Walking around visiting places like the opulent Jame'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque (that's best seen as the sun sets), or the Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, with its 44-meter minaret, gold domes, and chandeliers will certainly help keep you fit. This last mosque even has its own lagoon. Stunning, just doesn't quite cover it.
The beaches of Brunei are equally stunning, and the Muara Beaches are fantastic for both sunbathing and watersports.
It isn't all fun and sun in Brunei, this country has a long history. The Royal Regalia Museum details the opulence and history of the monarchy; while the Brunei Museum is filled with Islamic Art and glass, including 10th century ceramics.
You might find it refreshing to be in the air-conditioned indoors since the weather in Brunei can be quite hot & humid. It does cool off a bit during the winter--just not all that much. It rains a lot, mostly between October and December. Rather have some drier weather? Come to Brunei in February or March.
Rain will still come if you're visiting the Ulu Temburong National Park, one of the world's most untouched rainforest. You'll also find a lot of Brunei is jungle--perfect for the true adventure seeker.
Things to do in Cambodia : take an elephant ride in Rattanakiri and Mondulkiri, if you happen to be around the capital Phnom Penh in October November then wait for the water festival where hundreds or boats and paddlers launch into the Tonle Sap as the direction of its flow changes. Catch a Cambodian Apsara dance in Siem Reap, probably the best place for this. More water antics in Kratie, as you can go fresh water dolphin spotting. Cool off in Yak Lom lake near Banlung town in Rattanakiri province and take a picnic. If your into machsmo then fire a grenade launcher or M-16 in Phnom Penh. There aren't many other places in the world that would let you near such lethal weaponry. A serious reminder of the troubles Cambodia's been through. And reminders of the mined areas in cambodia abound as maimed PEOPLE get around with difficulty. Watch your step !
Get some underdeveloped beach time in at Sihanoukville ! Visit the amazing temples like Angkor Wat..
The Kingdom of Cambodia formerly known as Kampuchea, is a country in Southeast Asia that borders Thailand to the west and northwest, Laos to the north and Vietnam to the east and southeast. In the south it faces the Gulf of Thailand.
Cambodia truly is a backpacker's delight, you only need to keep a few things in mind before you've arrived. Getting around can be a test of patience, as many roads aren't paved throughout the 181,000 square kilometers. Come monsoon season (May/November) they often flood, which is why Dry Season is the most popular time to come.
Don't worry if you don't speak Khmer, the country's official language since Chinese, Vietnamese, French, and English are spoken all over.
It'll sure make haggling for all sorts of goodies at the local markets go smoother. You'll certainly want to leave room in your bag for statues, textiles, and Kramas--a scarf that's famously made here.
Wear one while you're out on the town, as cities like Siem Reap and Phnom Penh (the country's capital city) who are awash in restaurants and bars (including "adult" kinds). If you want a casino, you'll have to head to the beachside town of Sihanoukville.
Sihanoukville, by the way, is a SCUBA diver's paradise--and even if you can't dive, snorkeling and sunbathing can be done too.
Kampot is also for beach lovers, but is more famous for its Elephant Mountains. However, nothing in Cambodia is more famous for its UNESCO 12th century Ankor Wat, full of pagodas. There's a National Museum here that'll detail much of this revered site.
FYI--please remember to cover your shoulders, and not wear shorts to any of Cambodia's religious sites. And don't take photos of monks without permission.
One of the most amazing sites in Phnom Pehn is when the Tonle Sap River changes direction in November. The Bon Om Thook Festival is a super fun event that celebrates this unique natural event.
So if you've decided that Cambodia's your kind of place, just get your passport in order. Most of the time, and for most foreign citizens, a visa can be obtained upon arrival. Just be sure to check with the consulate before leaving home.
You should have your vaccinations in order before leaving, as well. From May to December the risk of Japanese Encephalitis is possible for anyone traveling to the Highlands of Cambodia for more than a few weeks. And Dengue Fever and Cholera are also a possibility--it is best to purchase health insurance for your trip.
Also remember to make sure anything you've eaten is fully cooked, including veggies; and fruits are peeled. Some rice noodles purchased from street vendors tastes delicous, and Prahok (fish paste) is often used to flavor many Cambodian dishes. Wash it all down with some coconut juice or rice wine.
Don't let the risks turn you off, this is a vibrant and proud country of some 14 million people that'll totally welcome you with open arms.
Big is certainly the right word to use when describing China. Actually, gigantic would be good. Humongous would be too, considering this one country has one-fifth of the world's population at 1.3 billion citizen AND encompasses 3.7 million square miles bordering two seas (the Yellow Sea & South China Sea) and thirteen countries (Russia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar).
The Great Wall of China isn't small either stretching meter upon meter and 20 feet wide. This is certainly the Republic of China's most famous site.
Forbidden City, with its 15th century Temple, is also world-famous, and who could forget about its Terra Cotta Army? But did you know that China has wonderful beaches?
That's right, China isn't all Ming Tombs and Pagodas. Chances are, however, you didn't fly half way around the world not to cycle along the Great Wall, see Buddhist Monasteries near Datong, or try some Chinese Medicine like acupuncture or cupping.
Chinese Medicine is legendary, but so is China's food. You'll find Chinese restaurants in every corner of the world--but only here will you actually get real Peking Duck from China's Northern Region.
Wait, Peking became Beijing, the country's capital city, so shouldn't it be Beijing Duck?
The south offers dishes like Dim Sum and Shrimp Wonton. Western dishes include Kung-po Chicken, and everything tastes great washed down with a Tsingtao, a Chinese beer.
Whatever you're eating just remember to make sure all veggies and meat are well-cooked, and be sure to drink only bottled or boiled water.
A few other necessary precautions are all that you need; so be sure your vaccinations are current. Make sure your passport is in order, and request a visa before leaving your house.
Getting around China can be an adventure. Although not the best maintained, some 80 percent of the country is accessible by road. It'll be hard to rent a car, but hiring a local driver for either a day or for the week will work.
China has a metro system for getting around by train, and ferries link Hong Kong to the mainland quite cheaply.
It's been said the best time to visit is in the early Autumn, because the weather's at its absolute best. Spring too is a wonderful time as well, as it can get really cold here during the Winter. The Himalayas have something to do with that, and some one-third of the country is covered by mountain terrain. Which is great for rock climbing or mountain climbing.
Yes, China is big--and it most certainly will be one of the biggest vacations of your life. So who said, size doesn't matter?
You won't find a whole lot of tourism to the teensy-tiny nation of East Timor, which barely measure some 14,000 square kilometers. This is a hidden Asian gem; and surprisingly not too many have heard about it. Really shocking considering its been occupied by a whole bunch of foregin invaders over the course of some five centuries.
This is a predominately Catholic country, whose captial city is Dili; the city where you'll find a good bit of nightlife along its beachfront. Dili even has its own castle, the Portuguese Castle that was built in 1627.
Portuguese invaders left a mark on the city of Baucau, the country's second largest city. It's full of colonial architecture, and caves for the truly adventurous.
Where is this slice of little-known Heaven? Right next to Indonesia. You won't be thinking of anyplace else once you've seen the white sandy beaches of Areia Branca (which means white sand). The snorkeling is great in the beach resort town of Com.
Getting around East Timor can be a struggle. Many of its roads are bad, to say the least, but you can always hire a local driver who knows the ins & outs. Biking around is another good idea; and taxis are cheap--so use them if you can.
The only thing difficult about eating is deciding on what to eat. All sorts of fish and curry dishes await you, as does beer and really (really) strong coffee.
Please remember to make sure you drink either boiled or bottled water, avoid dairy (powdered milk is ok), cook your veg & peel fruit before eating, and take out medical insurance before arriving. Make sure you've gotten your vaccinations in order, too.
Dengue Fever and Japanese encephalitis are also possible, so do your best to avoid mosquito bites.
East Timor's weather doesn't vary too much. It gets really hot (but dry) from July to November, while the monsoons drench the area with rain from December to March. The mountains offer some relief against the heat, but its still pretty humid up here.
Hot is hot in any language, but you'll most likely hear it in the 32 languages spoken in East Timor, English and Portuguese being two of them.
What you'll find in East Timor is wonderful--and maybe it isn't too bad that not everyone knows about it. This way you get to keep it to yourself.
It's hard to sum up India in a nutshell. This is a land with 1.2 billion people spread out over 1.2 million square miles, that's been colonized and independent, where cows are sacred, and a tomb is one of its most famous sites.
One thing that's constant in India is its weather. To put that in a nutshell, its hot most of the time. It does cool off some November to March, and the Western Himalayas experience some pretty cold winters.
The monsoons come from June to October, dumping rain, rain, rain. This time of year many roads aren't so well-traveled. One of the best ways to experience India is by rail, which has six classes of service to suit every need & budget. Rail passes make it even less expensive, but there are luxury trains if you decide that's the way you want to go.
Besides being a total hustle and bustle place, India doesn't experience much of a nightlife. You will, however, find casinos in Goa.
Goa, by the way, is known for its beaches. While places like Jaipur and Agra (found within what's called the Golden Triangle) delight the history lover. This is where you'll find the Taj Mahal, a world-famous tomb to a beloved wife.
Another holy site in India the Ganges River itself. At the ghats, the little stairs leading to the water, you'll see many local folks at the waterfront at dawn.
India is also known for its wildlife, and not just the cows that walk around since they're sacred. There are 17 biosphere reserves, some 400 animal sanctuaries, and 70 National Park. All the better to see the Asian Elephant and the amazingly beautiful tiger.
As exotic as the many animals in India are, eating is also an exotic activity. Try some spicy curries, some Kulfi (Indian ice cream), and many dishes are vegetarian. Try some Indian coffee or beer with it all.
One thing to watch are the seals on bottled water. And be sure to drink only bottled or boiled water, and eat only cooked veggies and fruit is peeled. A salad isn't a good option in India.
Before departure make sure you've gotten all your vaccinations up to date, and avoid mosquito bites since Dengue Fever and Malaria are possible.
Many visitors can get a visa upon arrival, but it's always best to check before you leave. No return ticket out of India is necessary, but a passport is.
You don't want to let something like paperwork to keep you from taking a camel safari, desert trekking, partying at a Hindu Festival in Calcutta (called Kolkata), or visiting tea plantations, right?
It is really is hard to say what's the most remarkable thing about the country of Indonesia. Could it be that it's the world's largest archipelago? Could it be that of its 17,508 islands only 6,000 are inhabited? Could it be that more than 580 languages (including English and Dutch) and dialects are spoken on the ones that are? How about the fact that you can hike up a volcano at Mount Bromo?
Indonesia isn't small, either. It's almost 2 million square kilometers, and has some 237 million citizens. Shocking since much of Indonesia is jungle, is prone to earthquakes, and not all of the countries volcanoes are extinct.
These last two are small risks to enjoy visiting the 30 temples built on a volcanic slope in Pura Besakih. Speaking of temples, the Prambanan Temple goes back to the 10th century, and is now a Hindu complex of 224 temples.
Some 90 percent of the population is Muslim, so only fitting that you'll find one of the world's biggest mosque, known as the Istiqlal Mosque.
You won't find it to be all history and architecture in Indonesia. Trekking through the jungle is an adventure into one of the world's most remote rainforest. And the Bantimurung Nature Reserve (in Sulawesi) is full of butterflies and hot springs.
Dragons are alive and well in Indonesia. Not the fire-breathing, fairytale version--but the large lizard found on Komodo Island. Orangutangs are also found in Indonesia, and a wonderful heart-felt place to stop is an orangutang "hospital" that helps the injured or orphaned to be released back into the wild.
Some folks get all wild while shopping, and haggling for the best deals on bamboo products and fabric can be a sport. It's hard to haggle for anything while you're eating--and one of the best dishes is Rijsttafel, a Dutch created concoction of twelve dishes.
Getting around can be both easy and difficult, depending on where you're at. Java,has a good network of roads--and rickshaws are a great way to travel them. Prefer a regular car? Get a chauffeur to show you around. Have 'em take you along the 3 miles of Buddhist carvings--it'll leave you speechless.
There's a decent rail system, offering three classes of service for all travelers--and even express service when you gotta be somewhere fast. Luxury cruise ships and ferries are also available if you want to travel by water.
Water, by the way, should only be drank if its boiled or bottled. Dairy should be avoided, and make sure you've either cooked or peeled your veg and fruit.
Cash is king in Indonesia--and the US Dollar is one of the easiest currencies to exchange. Yes, most higher end hotels will accept credit cards (AMEX for some reason is the biggie one here) and ATMs are available in bigger cities--but the more remote you go, it is best to carry cash.
One thing's for sure about dollars, or the Rupiah (Indonesia's currency)--it's hard to put a price on this country.
It isn't, however, hard to predict Indonesia's weather. Come June to September, the Eastern Monsoons don't drop rain, but warm, dry weather. It's the Western Monsoons that bring on the rain, which usually hit between December and March.
What's really funny, is with so many uninhabited islands--no one will be around to hear you complain about the weather anyway.
What to do in Japan : Climb Mount Fuji, Marvel at how every 30 minutes something weird and wonderful appears, Appreciate the Shink - Shinkanson or bullet train and use it to get around. Japan Tip : Buy a rail pass before entering Japan. Visit the magnificent Temples of Kyoto, take in a tea ceremony, Get some powder in Niseko skiing or snowboarding. Enjoy some of the finest dining experiences in the world. Visit the worlds biggest Fish Market in Tokyo, wonder at the neon lighting in Tokyo...
A trip to Japan will go a bit smoother if you're aware of a few things before arriving. The Japanese are a very polite society and table manners matter; and often yes doesn't always mean a firm yes. Confusing? Sure, but it should never stop you from basking in the glory of Mt. Fuji, or cheering for your favorite Sumo wrestler.
Japan can be exciting, as well as daunting since its so exotic. It might not feel like while soaking at the onsen, which are hot springs, or as you notice the little nuances of ritual tea ceremony.
Almost three-quarters of Japan is covered by mountains or hills, and many of its volcanoes are still active or only dormant (not quite the same thing as extinct). Luckily the country experiences four distinct seasons, making Spring and Fall the most temperate time to come. It can get very cold in the Hokkaido region, and typhoons mostly hit between August and September.
Typhoons, hot weather, and snow doesn't stop Japan from having a vibrant nightlife. You'll find all sorts of cultural events going on, like the Cherry Blossom Parties (April & May) and the Sapporo Snow Festival (Feb), to theater and beer gardens, pubs to opera & ballet.
Just be wary of so-called "hostess service" bars, where you're expected to pay for drinks for "company"; a needless expense.
You'll want to save your Yen for things like visiting the 1000-year old, Buddhist Sensoji Temple, or the 17th century Himeji Castle. One trek that you should take is the ancient pilgrimage route of Kumano Kodo filled with waterfalls, hot springs (onsen), and forest.
Getting around the route, or anywhere else for that matter, is easy in Japan since there's an extensive network of bus and rail routes. While not best to drive on your own, the train or long-distance bus route gives you a chance to see the best of Japan's 377,000 square kilometers.
Ferries link four of Japan's main islands, and some service even goes out to the more remote areas of the country. And Japa is serviced by Japan's official airline, as well as many other international carriers--making Tokyo (its capital city) and beyond,easy to get to from all over North America, Europe, Africa, and the rest of Asia.
A laid-back approach is best when visiting Laos. This Asian country really has a slow-paced feel, even in its capital city of Vientiane. This is a land of rice paddys and caves, Buddha statues and monks, temples and elephant rides. Laid-back? Maybe not.
If scenery is what you've come to Laos for, you'll want to see Mt. Phousi whose panoramic views give you the best the country has to offer. The zip wire view along the canopy of the BaKeo Nature Reserve could rival it any day of the week.
When elephants are what you want, the Boloven Plateau is where to go. An elephant ride isn't something most people get to do everyday, so enjoy it. You can get elephant rides in the UNESCO town of Luang Prabang, where you'll also find centuries old Buddha statues, a Royal palace, and monks.
Getting to Luang Prabang is easy, as its airport has flights coming in from Vientiane, Bangkok, Siem Reap, and Ha Noi. A motorcycle or bicycle is the best mode of transportation in Laos, while metered taxis are available in cities like Vientiane. Ferries and speedboats, as well as car rentals are available.
All that traveling can make you hungry. Many dishes use sticky rice as a staple--and Lao lao is a rice whisky that pairs nicely with just about everything.
Speaking of rice, the Plain of Jars is a site to behold. Weighing up to six tons, these massive stone jars were believed to hold rice wine.
Just remember to drink only boiled or bottled water; make sure all your meat and veg are cooked; and fruits are peeled.
Eating is more complicated than getting here, believe it or not. All you need is a passport and return ticket to somewhere. Most foreign nationals can get a visa upon arrival--but always best to check before you've left home.
You wouldn't want something as simple as that to keep you from dolphin watching, seeing Khmer Hindu Temples, or shopping for silk and silver, would you? What's worse, you would miss out on getting a locally made Lao sarong, called a pha sin. Everyone'll be counting on you to bring them home as souvenirs.
If you're headed to Malaysia, you'll find hot springs and luxury goods, beaches and nature areas, SCUBA diving and street markets. This makes this Asian country of some 25 million people one of the best destinations anywhere around the globe.
While Kuala Lumpur, its capital city, is both historical and commerical--it is places like the country's tropical rainforests that are exceptionally popular.
A jungle trek isn't for the faint of heart, so many head to Malaysia's beaches to snorkel or SCUBA. There are two monsoon seasons, the southwest monsoons hit between May and September; northeast monsoons come November to March. Still, the beaches are extraordinary--and worth visiting even if it is raining.
Nature lovers will want to see its Kuala Gula Bird Sanctuary, and the country's hot springs will have tired muscles feeling like new in no time flat.
Feeling invigorated? Try shopping, where at the Street Markets you'll find everything from luxury goods to wood carvings. The Night Markets are a form of nightlife in Malaysia, often not even opening until around 4pm.
Kuala Lumpur does have bars and nightclubs, but alcohol is banned for Muslims. Local beers include Tiger and Anchor, if you want to give them a chance. Or, do like the locals and try some sugar cane juice.
Malaysia's national dish is Nasi lemak, made with rice and coconut milk. The roti canai is delicious if you like curry sause served over a fried flat bread.Be sure that anything you eat is well-cooked, and don't worry about eating at most street stalls--since most are considered safe. Avoid dairy if you can, though; and try to remember to eat with your right hand.
Vaccations are a good idea against most diseases before you leave home. Take extra care to avoid any mosquito bites, as Dengue Fever can happen.
With that out of the way, all you have to worry about is keeping your passport in order. And you don't really even need a visa, but always check beforehand.
Visa and passport regulations are probably more complicated than getting around in (or to) Malaysia. Luxury trains arrive from Singapore, while commercial buses and trains will get you around the cities easy enough. Metered taxis are widely available, but getting agreeing with your driver for a fixed price isn't unheard of.
Rail passes are good for getting around to the more remote areas, but the remotest area of Sarawak is best gotten to by express boat.
If you're worried about not speaking the official language of Bahasa Melayu, both Chinese and English are spoken throughout the country.
Then again, if you're too busy shopping, snorkeling, or snacking--you don't have to worry about it.
Who knew that only in the Maldives a land height of 2.3 meters would be considered "mountainous". That's the highest you're going to get in this band of 1,190 coral islands (encompassing only 298 square miles) in the Indian Ocean--found at Hulhumale.
Ahh, all the better to be a total beachside place, don't you think?
The weather here in the Maldives makes lounging around beachside all day possible. That is, of course, if you're not diving at places like Victory Wreck (sunk in 1981) and the Addu Atoll, or snorkeling along the other 25 atolls, or countless lagoons.
Many of the Maldives' islands are very small, a half-hour walk will bring you from one sun kissed end to the other. Ferries are the best way of getting around, while speedboats and other boats bring you from one island to the other. Only 200 of all the Maldives' islands are inhabited, and its all the rage to have a BBQ at one that isn't.
Much of the Maldives' weather is consistent, although monsoons from May to November make it more likely to rain. The southern islands experience more rain than the north--a good thing to know if you're totally addicted to the sunshine.
Outside of the Maldives' resorts there isn't much nightlife. As most of the 396,000 residents are Sunni Muslim, there isn't much drinking going on. This is good to know, as beachwear isn't really to be worn off the sand. Avoid bikinis if you're not at a resort beach.
Many beach resorts have a variety of restaurants, while outside you'll find some local cafes serving up hedhikaa, or short snacks that are popular.
A word of caution, while its safe to drink the water in resort areas--it is best to stick to boiled or bottled otherwise. A few vaccinations are best to have before you leave--but no worries too much about Malaria or Dengue Fever.
No worries either if you don't speak Dhivehi, the official language, as Russian, Italian, Chinese, German, and French are also widely spoken. English speakers, don't get nervous--they speak that too.
But, with all these lush beaches shaded by palm trees, any nervousness you have will just melt away.
Big skies vast horizons and a feeling of space this is the destination bar none to escape and find yourself. Popular tours involve hiring a 4x4 or more traditional forms of transport like horses. In fact this might be one of the best places in the world to take a horse ride. Give up your notion of comfort and jump in with the 'ger' or Yurt way of living. A Ger or Yurt is the tents people live in seemingly in the middle of nowhere.
Ulan Bator is the capital city. We have a fantastic tour company with 8 years experience and good English spoken. See a selection of their tours here.
If you are looking for places to stay then Hostels in Mongolia.
Looking for hotels in Mongolia or more specifically Ulan Bator.
Mongolia is landlocked and may be the reason why Genghis Khan felt the need to conquer.
Now a democratic country with a multi party system a far cry from yesteryear but the landscape is largely the same, Massive steeps or sands, forested mountain ranges and Himalayan like mountains. Mongolia has a market economy and the best time to visit is in June to September.
Myanmar is the new name for an old country given by the ruling military junta. This is why it is not always recognised by this name for example the BBC and Wikipedia recognise Myanmar as BURMA. You may also have your prefferences.
You might not have heard about the country of Myanmar; a relatively new name for the very old country of Burma. Despite being politically unstable, you'll find it to be a place rich in culture and beautiful landscape.
A few simple considerations for travel to Burma, or Myanmar, will go a long way in making this one of the most unique vacations ever. Bring cash, as there aren't any ATMs, and credit cards are rarely accepted anywhere--even in the capital city of Yangon (often called Rangoon).
Caution is required both before and during your stay. Make sure your vaccinations are updated, and prevention of mosquito bites is a must since Dengue Fever is a possibility.
Drink only bottled or boiled water, and all meat and vegetables should be well-cooked. Peel your fruit before eating, too.
Paying attention to the weather is important, as typhoons are known to hit between April and October. Of Burma's three seasons, the coolest & driest is between October to February; while its really hot & humid between February and May.
Once you've gotten all that squared away, you're able to enjoy the 261,000 square miles of Myanmar. In Bagan, you'll find some 5000 temples and stupas in this former capital city. The most notable is the Shwezigon Pagoda in all its golden glory.
Rangoon is great for shopping for luxury items and other handicrafts at the Bogyoke Aung San Market; and don't forget to look at its amazing colonial architecure and the Botataung Pagoda that's got a mirrored maze.
All the shopping and sightseeing can make you hungry--so try some Lethok son, a spicy vegetable rice salad, or the fish noodle soup called Mohinga.
Myanmar is a country that's very into eco-tourism, and its National Parks will make you speechless with their rugged natural beauty.
Beach-lovers will want to be at Chaung-tha or Ngapali Beach for a few days of watersports; while adventure seekers might rather hit up the Lost Cities of Mingun or Amarapura, and the caves at Pindaya.
Getting around Myanmar is simple enough with all sorts of bicycle rentals, ferries, and trains. Public transportation or bike is your best bet, as Burmese law says that if you're driving--you're responsible for any accidents involving pedestrians. With a population of some 47 million people, they're not very good odds.
What is a sure bet, is your trip to Myanmar won't disappoint. You'll fall in love with its people and places--right down to its coastal resorts and forests.
As you can imagine in Nepal the tours are primarily of interest to mountaineers and hikers. There are cyclists also drawn to the challenges. Browse through the Nepal Tours and visit their websites to get an idea of what you can do.
The ultimate in what you can do in Nepal is climb it in other words climb Mt. Everest! Many make base camp their objective and this is a worth feat in itself. This is the world's tallest mountain, at 8,848 meters (29,029 feet) above sea level. It isn't for the faint of heart--but every year hundreds of people flock to Nepal to conquer this massive mountain in the Himalayas.
Nepal's mountain range might peak at Mt. EVerest, but even if you don't climb that high--be careful of altitude sickness.
Everest might be the be-all, end-all of adventure in Nepal--yet there are other adventures you can do if don't don't want to mountain climb. Consider spending the night in a jungle watchtower; with any luck you'll see the elusive Bengal Tiger.
One-horned rhinos (as well as the tiger, elephant, and buffalo) await you in the Royal Chitwan National Park, or go cave exploring at the Siddha Gufa, the largest of its kind in all of Nepal.
You'll find lots of history here in Nepal,too, right down to its temples. The Monkey Temple (known as the Swayambhunath Stupa is one of the most famous, but the Thani Mai Temple--whose views of the Himalayas are renowned throughout the country, is just as famous.
Another great way to see Nepal, or even just its capital city of Kathmandu, is by air. Not airplane, but hang-gliding, hot air balloon rides, or paragliding.
Getting around the rest of Nepal is easy enough, although there are no car rental services available. Take the buses, minibuses, trolleys, rickshaws, bicycles, or motorcycles instead. You can take the train around Nepal, but you won't be able to cross borders this way.
You will have to make sure you're visa and passport are in order--otherwise you won't get the chance to try local dishes like tarkan, a spiced veggie dish, or rakshi--a spirit made from either rice or wheat.
The latter will keep you warm on those cold nights during the winter. Or, keep you from caring that a monsoon can hit anytime between June and September. The rest of the year is pretty dry in Nepal, so not too much worry about rain stopping you.
When its a place as wonderful as Nepal, not much should stop you. And a little rain never hurt anyone, right?
There probably isn't a country more shrouded in mystery than the 122,000 square kilometers of North Korea, as independent tourism isn't allowed. If you want to see it, you got to have a guide with you at all times. They even arrange your restaurant visits.
Western cuisine hasn't caught on here in North Korea, you'll find Chinese, Japanese, and Korean dishes to eat. Avoid dairy products, using bottled or boiled water to drink or brush your teeth.
A big no-no in North Korea is any kind of political talk, and the country itself is quite formal.It's best to keep a low profile when you're here.
That being said, a trip to North Korea is unlike anywhere else on Earth. You'll fall in love with the ancient buildings of Kaesong, and the Exotic Frangrant Mountain, called Myohyangsan, is filled with Buddhist Pagodas, and where you'll find doors made of 4-tons of Bronze at the Exhibition Center.
The capital city of Pyongyang is full of marble buildings, and where you can visit the Palace of Cutlure and the Arch of Triumph. A simple thatched cottage lies as a museum to one of North Korea's most famous leader.
A licensed guide will arrange your nightlife, which mostly consists of operas and musical events. Other than that, you won't find nightclubs or bars in the traditional sense.
Getting around North Korea is all done through your guide, too. Security checkpoints are common outside Pyongyang, but there is no driving if you're not from here. Rail tickets will get you around, with tickets having to be purchased locally. There are a few domestic airports, however, you must be North Korean to use them.
North Korea doesn't make it easy to sightsee around, a few inconveniences and regulations are worth it to see places like the Diamond Mountains, or all the local flora & fauna in Kumgangsan, the largest national park in the country.
Just have your passport, return ticket, and visa all in order. The hardest part about it all is deciding which of North Korea's four seasons you want to see. Keep in mind it can get quite cold in the northern region during the winter, while summer can get wet & hot; making Spring and Autumn the most mild of all North Korea's seasons.
Hmm, you might not have political discussions in North Korea--so best to stick to the weather, huh?
Be very very brave and eat the street food where dog may well be on the menu ! Watch a cock fight! Controversy is everywhere in the Philipines as well as some amazing beautiful destinations. The thousands of islands here with diverse conditions make for a diving mecca. You may find a lot more of interest however in this bizarre country.
The country of the Philippines is exactly 300,000 square kilometers of jungle, mountains, and volcanoes. It is a country that thrives on manners, even though almost everyone is casually dressed.
More than three-quarters of the country is Catholic; Filipino is the official language, while English & Spanish are spoken almost all over; and as the Philippines lies along the Bascuit Archipelago, making the scenery some of the best you'll find in one place.
Most people are familiar with the Philippines because of some 3,000 pairs of shoes. No, it isn't some odd footwear exhibit--but the former leader Ferdinand Marcos' wife, Imelda, owned that many.
Such was the extravagant lifestyle of the former rule, but now the political regime of the Marcos is gone; making the Philippines one of the best backpacking destinations for anyone.
So many people come to to dive or kiteboard at Boracay Island, snorkel or take an outrigger boat (called a bangka) ride. Diving is a big deal at the Calamian Islands, and the pink sand at Santa Cruz Island is the icing on the whole swimming, surfing, ands snorkeling cake.
The Philippines are historical, as well as being a watersport loving place. The Rice Terraces are more than two millennia old, and the walled capital city of Manila tells the tale of its colonial past.
Still, it always goes back to the water. Who can resist snorkeling with whale sharks? If the word shark scares you, there's always going to see the world's smallest monkey at Bohol.
Shopping is fun, too. Buy the locally made barong tagalong, a dress shirt that's beautifully embroidered. Or, buy some rice figurines or grass mats.
Eating wil excite you--especially when you've tasted Adobo, a tangy soy sauced chicken made with garlic. A good accompaniment to any meal is the locally made beer, San Miguel.
Be sure to take care when eating or drinking--as all water should be boiled or bottled. No swimming in fresh water--chlorinated pools are the exception.
Take care against mosquito bites, as Dengue Fever is carried by them. Medical insurance is recommended, as are most vaccinations.
With that taken care of, you're free to roam about the Philippines by air, car (don't drive at night), motorbike, mass transit train, ferry, or horse-drawn carriage.
Doesn't matter though--you'll just want to find your way back to the beaches that makes the Philippines so popular.
In case anyone's confused, Singapore is both a country and city. Actually, it's a city-state of just 269 square miles that was once a British trading post. Now it is one of the cleanest, and safest, places you will find anywhere on the planet.
Penalties are stiff if you litter, chew gum, or even jaywalk. While smoking isn't outlawed, it is discouraged--and you'll be fined if you throw your cigarettes into the street.
Cleanliness is but a small price to see Buddhist and Hindu Temples alongside mosques and churches; as well as the National Orchid Garden and the Johore Battery, a network of tunnels and large guns built by the Brits.
Shopping in Singapore brings you from the most refined luxury items, to simple street vendors--but no haggling. Well, you could try--it might work to get you a better deal.
As Singapore is exceptionally clean, you won't have any problems drinking anything, or even eating from its street stalls. In fact, this is one of the best ways to eat around Singapore.
The Singapore Sling Cocktail was invented here, over at the Raffles Hotels. So, go ahead, in honor of where it all started--have one.
You choice where you want to have one, since there are plenty of discos, bars, and clubs all over the place. Other cultural pursuits include river cruises, the cinema, karaoke, and Opera.
And with Singapore's excellent bus and MRT (Mass Rail Transit) you'll get around quite easily. Harbor cruises are great for an evening of fun, while ferries will get you around its 63 islands & inlets quickly and efficently.
Most citizens are bilingual, so if you're only an English speaker you'll do just fine; but they do speak Mandarin Chinese and Malay here too.
Weather knows no language--especially here as its hot & humid almost year round. Two monsoon seasons hit the region, mostly between December to March, June to September. Just pack some light cotton clothing to get you through the muggy days.
Even the weather is simple in Singapore, so there's no reason to be confused. Just don't chew gum or make a mess, and you'll have the best trip of your life.
While North Korea might be secretive and mysterious, South Korea is a land of mountains and beaches--available to anyone and everyone who wants to see its 93,000 square kilometers.
Start in the capital city of Seoul, a bustling city full of modern day amenities and historical sites. If you'd rather ski, head to the ski resorts around Pyeongchang, known as the Korean Alps.
For anyone who'd rather see the 10,000 Buddhist Temples around South Korea, make sure you see the Haeinsa Temple that was built by monks back in 802; and home to some 80,000 wooden blocks that's really like a Buddhist scroll.
The natural side of South Korea is wonderful, too. The Seoraksan National Park is believed to be the most beautiful. For all its streams, waterfalls, and temples--you can believe it.
Jeju-do Island is another place to fall in love with South Korea's beauty. This land was created by volcanoes--creating a landscape that you won't see almost anywhere else.
You won't eat like anyplace on Earth, like you will here. Try some Seafood Stew, or try the Ginseng Wine.
A shopping trip is just what you need after a delicious lunch. The choice is your if you want to hit up the little craft markets, or shopping malls--there's even one entirely underground.
Perhaps it was built to get away from the frigid Siberian winds that make their way here. Winter can get quite cold with them, and to the opposite extreme, summers are really hot; making Spring & Autumn your best bet. And typhoons only occasionally hit South Korea, so no worries there.
Getting around South Korea is relatively easy as there is a good network of well-maintained roads if you're driving. South Korea's rail network offers 3-classes of service for all budgets, and ferries are available to take you to a few of the outlying smaller islands. Bus service is inexpensive, but can be confusing if you don't speak Korean, the official language. English is widely spoken, just not on many of the country's long-distance buses.
The biggest concern in South Korea lies with its mosquito-borne Japanese enchephalitis, mostly between June to October. Take care to avoid bites, and make sure you've got all your vaccinations current.
South Korea's water is safe to drink, but its been said that it doesn't taste all that great to Western standards. If you don't like it, drink bottled water instead.
To enjoy the best of the South Korea all you need is a simple passport, as no visa is required for most foreign nationals. It's always best to check with the consulate before leaving. As you can see, South Korea is inviting--they even make it easy for you come.
Sri Lanka ,previously known as Ceylon before 1972 (hey I was born in 72 !!!)
Sri Lanka's capital city of Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte has a name bigger than the country itself. The only thing bigger is its heart, as this truly is a warm and welcoming place in the Indian Ocean.
Some 70 percent of its population is Buddhist, so you'll find some incredible temples scattered throughout its 25-thousand square miles. The Dambulla Cave Temples are extraordinary; and if you go to only one--make sure this is it.
You have to make sure you see Adam's Peak, a sacred pilgrimage place to four religions (Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, and Muslims), that requires trekking some 4,800 steps.
Whew, good thing you can get a Ayurvedic Treatment afterwards. They're more relaxational than medicinal, but they're available almost anywhere.
Relaxing on the 1600km of coastline of Sri Lanka will work wonders, too. Swimming on the southern part of island, however, can be a bit dangerous.
Galle has one of the world's best beaches, and there's even an old Dutch fort here to visit.
Sri Lanka's wildlife is fantastic, so come see an Elephant Orphanage or one of the many National Parks and Sanctuaries with everything from leopards to deer, boars to monkeys. Yes, Sri Lanka has it all.
There are just about as many sporting activities in Sri Lanka as there are different animal species. You can hike, surf, paraglide, hangglide, snorkel and dive, as even shopping can be a sport.
With any luck, you'll find the perfect gifts of lace, Batik fabric, and silk to bring home. While you're here, enjoy a night of dancing, theater, or ballet. Cricket is a big sport; your choice if you want to watch or play.
Be careful, it gets hot here in Sri Lanka. The Yala Monsoons bring rain mostly between May to September, the Maha Monsoons hit from october to January--while it is cooler in the higher regions.
The highest point in Sri Lanka, by the way, lies at 2,524 meters (8,281ft).
Whatever the elevation, getting around Sri Lanka is quite easy. Ferries, metered taxis, chauffeur driven cars, express & regular trains, even motorized rickshaws are quick, efficient, and affordable.
Eating in Sri Lanka is an adventure. Spicy is a good word to describe the cuisine--but try some hoppers (a crumpet of sorts served with egg) if you aren't into the whole spicy thing. A Toddy is made with the sap of a palm tree, a drink that goes great with almost anything. Alcohol is served all over the island, just not during the holidays of Poya--which is on the full moon, if you're wondering.
You won't even notice its missing, since you'll be too busy at Sri Lanka's UNESCO sites, Rock Formations, and fishing villages. No need to be drunk on wine--you'll be tipsy from all its natural splendor.
Sri Lanka is a popular and good place to have your wedding on the beach.
Jaffna, Trincomalee, Uppuveli, Nilaveli, Kalkudah, Pasekudah, Batticaloa, Ampara, Arugam Bay, Buttala, Monaragala, The Hill Country (see our hill country tours), Colombo..
To the Western world you might have seen "Made in Taiwan" printed on all sorts of items, from toys to technology. What else is made in Taiwan is one of the best vacation destinations.
Lying along the Tropic of Cancer, Taiwan is a beach and nature lover's paradise. While typhoons might hit late summer, anytime of year is the right time to see all of Taiwan. Bird watchers especially will appreciate it here, as there are some 460 species to find. As well as some 400 different species of butterfly to track down.
One note of caution: while hiking in rural areas be careful from poisonous snakes. Although rare, the possibility is still there.
Speaking of snakes, the infamous Snake Alley is a touristy kind of place--but a unique place to see snake hearts on sale.
Take care to avoid mosquito bites too, as while not in a Malaria infected area, Dengue Fever is a possibility. An update of all vaccinations is a good idea before arrival.
A visa is also needed before arrival, as it cuts down on any "red tape" you'll encounter. You'll need a passport and return ticket, by the way.
It wouldn't be right to let something as simple as paperwork keep you from hitting up the Night Market (or, regular markets for that matter) to buy jade, chopsticks, or specially made lanterns.
Taiwanese nights also include all sorts of venues, like discos and clubs, karaoke and tea houses. As varied as its nightlife is as varied as its cuisine. You'll find Spicy Szechuan, Pekinese and Cantonese cooking, and the every popular Spring Rolls.
Just be sure that all meat and veggies are well-cooked, and fruits are peeled. Do yourself a favor, only drink boiled or bottled water while you're here.
You'll need to take provisions if you're going to hike up Jade Mountain--at a whopping 12,966ft. Take your time, but the view's worth the effort.
The Chung Tai Chan Monastery is tall, too. While not as high as Jade Mountain, this is the world's tallest Buddhist Temple. However, if you want to "jump" off something--you'll have to do it at Green Bay, the best place to either paraglide or hangglide.
Good thing there's an abundance of Chinese Medicine around in case you pull something. Eastern medicine is important here in Taiwan, so you're bound to find something to cure any other ills you got going on. Or, just try soaking in the Taian Hot Springs.
Taiwan is also a festive city, a place to go for the ultimate in fun during Chinese New Year, or the Dragon Boat Festival. There's never a moment where something isn't going on that's great for the whole family.
The beaches are also family-friendly; and Orchid Island has some of the best coral around if you're into diving around the volcanic island.
Ferries will take you all over around the coast of Taiwan, although not so much in winter. Other modes of getting around include the MRT and monorail, bicycles and motorcoaches, and taxis are incredibly cheap.
Great, save some money to pay for some acupuncture, or visiting more around Taiwan--it'd be a shame to miss out on anything.
The largest city in Thailand is Bangkok,
the capital, there is an order among the chaos of the hot dirty streets some high class shopping and a futuristic SkyTrain. Stay in some of the best hotels in the world at affordable rates.
Check our own review of Le Meridien in Patpong
What to do in Thailand: Trekking, Scuba Diving, this is one of the cheapest countries to learn to do your PADI course in Ko Tao. The Beach - love the film ? Of course you did you are never far from a fantastic beach in Thailand nor a bungalow on the beach, Fantastic Temples, Amazing food. Highlights are Scuba Diving in the Andaman Sea, Ko Phi Phi, Ko Lanta, Climbing in Krabi , Railay Beach, James bond Island. Do read the Bangkok Hilton and stay clear of drugs, there is no tolerance of them in Thailand. Visit River Kwai Bridge at Kanchanaburi , the nearby museum jeath museum. Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai offer elephant rides trekking and rafting. Drink snakes blood and dance till dawn at the famous full moon party in hat (haad) Rin.Rin is two beaches separated by a narrow quaint street:The sunrise on the east and sunsets on the west. Sunrise beach is a wide stretch of white sand in a stunning curved bay while sunset beach is not really as nice.
Thailand has a good infrastructure compared to some countries all you to get about in reasonable comfort and never have much more than a 12 hour trip. Use the budget airlines like air asia however and you may never spend more than a half day of travel. See this 2 week Thailand Tour.
Another way to see Thailand Backpacking
The Socialist Republic of Vietnam as she is officially known is one of the most rapidly growing travel regions in Asia and the world Located in southeast Asia bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and graced by the South China Sea to the east. Vietnam has a population of over 86 million some of which on any given rush hour grid lock themselves while on scooters yes a scooter bike traffic jam gridlock ! After a hard long period or war, civil war Vietnam was left without much diplomacy trade and domestic resentments. But the country did what it does best dug in with difficult surroundings and won where she could and in 2007 Vietnam joined the World Trade Organization in 2007.
Pre Vietnma Travel Advice from the FCO [Travel safe in Vietnam]
Tourism in Vietnam is a great progression for both the tourist AND the countries people. Making sure your tourist dollar gets into the local economy is a good responsible tourism thing. You can find many examples of the people of Vietnam running tours on this very site. No matter if you book a super duper tour from a western agent chances are that you will get the same people at the end delivering the services. The best option perhaps is to choose a company that has a western level of management or partnership and employs local tour guides in full.
Tam Coc Vietnam Scene
Destinations for the backpacker and tourist in Vietnam include Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) Hanoi, Hue, Halong Bay, Sapa, Tam Coc et al